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201  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2016 Presidential on: September 23, 2016, 11:22:04 AM
"Almost. They don't believe in having people meddle in their affairs."

202  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam - Education, Rebuttals and Counter-Terror on: September 23, 2016, 11:20:55 AM
Of the Ten Commandments, only one is against a thought-- "Thou shall not covet , , , "

Maybe God was trying to tell us something.
203  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Senate passes unwritten bill?!? on: September 23, 2016, 11:18:18 AM
Washington at Its Worst: Senate Passes Non-Existent Bill
Commentary By Rachel Bovard, Daily Signal,  9/21/16

A 10-year veteran of congressional policy battles, Rachel Bovard is The Heritage Foundation’s director of policy services.

On Tuesday night the Senate voted to proceed to the Continuing Resolution (CR), a bill that will allegedly fund the government until Dec. 9.

The only problem is that there isn’t actually a bill yet.

There is no text. There is no agreement between Democrats and Republicans on what the bill will fund — Planned Parenthood, the Export-Import Bank, control of the Internet — all of it remains a mystery.

Yet the Senate voted 89 – 7 to proceed to this non-existent bill..

The Senate operates under complex parliamentary rules that require a series of votes in order to “proceed to” or “get onto” a bill. The vote Tuesday night was the first in what will be a series of votes on the continuing resolution or spending bill.

Despite Senate leadership’s protests to the contrary, a vote to proceed to a bill that’s not yet written is, in fact, a substantive act — particularly when there is so much at stake.

And Senate leadership tried to pitch this as simply a process vote. Sen. Mitch McConnell’s, R-Ky., communications director tweeted that this vote was “just procedural” and “not a vote on the CR” or on Zika funding. Various reporters tweeted that this was just a vote on a “shell bill,” and that the text of the continuing resolution would be crafted at a later date.

But the fact still remains: on Tuesday, the Senate voted to proceed to a bill that does not yet exist.

Forget not being able to read it, or not having time to digest the policy at hand. The bill does not exist.

Despite Senate leadership’s protests to the contrary, a vote to proceed to a bill that’s not yet written is, in fact, a substantive act — particularly when there is so much at stake. The continuing resolution will be the battleground for major policies, like whether or not Planned Parenthood will receive Zika funding, if the Export-Import Bank can send taxpayer dollars to fund Boeing deals with Iran, or if the U.S. will lose control of the Internet.

All of these deals have yet to be struck (although press reports suggest that Republicans have already caved to Democrats on Planned Parenthood funding). What the Senate did Tuesday was to give the go-ahead to Senate leadership to strike those deals on their behalf. Each of the 89 senators who voted to proceed to text that they’ve never seen yielded their authority to have input on the deal, to influence the outcome of a major funding bill.

This is not just a procedural vote, and it is wrong to describe it as such. Voting to proceed to a bill is as much a substantive act as voting on the bill — different, but still substantive. In this case, the Senate voted to proceed to whatever backroom deal their leadership happens to strike.

As Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., explained his “no” vote to Congressional Quarterly, “We don’t have that text yet. It’s important that we do have that and we do know the direction that it’s going when we get to that spot.”

Lankford is right about why senators must have text before beginning any vote series, procedural or otherwise — you can’t approve the start of a process without knowing first where it’s going to end.

The McConnell-Reid era has witnessed a Senate that is less transparent, where individual members are less aware of their rights, and where there is a growing centralization of power in the Leader’s office. Tuesday’s vote was another step in that direction.

Individual senators are all equal in authority — with the same rights and the same access to the Senate rules. Senators would do well to keep that in mind next time their leadership says, “Trust us,” and tells them to approve moving forward on a bill they have yet to see.
204  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / George Soros: Why I am investing $500M in migrants on: September 23, 2016, 03:34:29 AM
205  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2016 Presidential on: September 22, 2016, 09:09:47 PM
 cheesy cheesy cheesy
206  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Saudi Arabia & the Arabian Peninsula on: September 22, 2016, 09:01:27 PM
Please post in the Legal Issues in the War on Islamic Fascism thread as well.

FWIW, at present, I lean towards opposing this bill.
207  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Rap sheet on: September 22, 2016, 08:31:52 PM

208  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Trey Gowdy at the tip of the spear defending the rule of law on: September 22, 2016, 04:35:57 PM
209  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / DHS says refugee fraud is easy on: September 22, 2016, 12:58:22 PM
210  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam - Education, Rebuttals and Counter-Terror on: September 22, 2016, 11:00:31 AM
Something that has influenced my thinking greatly is "evolutionary psychology" in general and the writings of Konrad Lorenz in particular (after whom my son Conrad is named btw).

One of his most important books is "On Aggression".  Speaking quite simplistically about a subtle book, Lorenz says aggression (defined as intra and not inter species) has three purposes:  Territory; Hierarchy; and Reproduction.

In my own thinking in the case of humans I have added Predation.  Normally predatory behavior is inter species and thus outside the definition of aggression, but in the case of humans, much criminal behavior is predatory in nature (e.g. the money stolen is a form of food)

But I digress , , , 

In one of his final books, "The Waning of Humanness" Lorenz spoke of particular dynamic that he called "collective militant enthusiasm" in which a group whips itself into a frenzy for collective action against "the other".

Lenin-Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Islamic Fascism can all be seen as manifestations of this dynamic.
211  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2016 Presidential on: September 22, 2016, 10:49:47 AM
I thought Mexico/Mexicans didn't believe in meddling in other people's internal affairs , , ,  tongue

212  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Donald Trump on: September 21, 2016, 11:30:00 PM
Trump passed on the invitation of the president of the Ukraine to meet today.

If I have it right, Hillary accepted?

213  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Epidemics of Insanity on: September 21, 2016, 09:10:54 PM
214  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in America (and pre-emptive dhimmitude) on: September 21, 2016, 08:58:42 PM
Works for me!
215  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Sen.Ted Cruz on refugees on: September 21, 2016, 08:56:36 PM
216  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Why cops don't let suspects return to vehicles on: September 21, 2016, 08:46:46 PM
217  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Strong clip on electoral fraud on: September 21, 2016, 01:26:54 PM
218  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Life of a Liberal Muslim on: September 21, 2016, 01:22:03 PM
219  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam - Education, Rebuttals and Counter-Terror on: September 21, 2016, 01:14:12 PM
You'll find only agreement here!

I think we all appreciate your concise presentation of facts and lines of analysis for persuading others.

Speaking of Muslim Brotherhood, a pet peeve of mine is how Huma Abedin's family connections to it are ignored , , ,  angry angry angry
220  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2016 Presidential on: September 21, 2016, 01:12:00 PM

It’s Still Clinton’s Race to Lose
Only 38% of likely voters think Donald Trump is ‘qualified’ for the presidency.
221  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Morris: Bush 41 rehabs a Clinton , , , again on: September 21, 2016, 01:06:26 PM
222  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / London Mayor against assimilation on: September 21, 2016, 10:06:38 AM
London Mayor Sadiq Khan to U.S. Immigrants: Don't Assimilate
by Raheem Kassam  •  Sep 16, 2016
Cross-posted from Breitbart
Originally published under the title "London's Islamist-Linked Mayor Tells U.S. Audience: 'Immigrants Shouldn't Assimilate'."
Sadiq Khan narrowly won London's mayoral election in May.

London's Muslim mayor Sadiq Khan has continued his pro-Hillary Clinton tour of the United States by declaring that immigrants into the West should not be forced to assimilate.  His comments come hot on the heels of the Chicago press exposing his connections to radical Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.
Mr. Khan, who was elected to be London's mayor in May 2016, has also used his trip to claim that Republican candidate Donald Trump is "playing into the hands" of the Islamic State.

His trip runs contrary to the U.S. visit from former UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage, who presented an upbeat message of defeating the political establishment on stage with Donald Trump.

Instead, Mr. Khan insisted: "One of the lessons from around the world is that a laissez-faire or hands-off approach to social integration doesn't work. We need rules, institutions, and support to enable people to integrate into cohesive communities and for the avoidance of doubt, I don't mean assimilation, I mean integration, and there's a difference."

He added: "People shouldn't have to drop their cultures and traditions when they arrive in our cities and countries."

The United Kingdom, and especially areas of East London which overwhelmingly voted for Mr. Khan, is currently suffering from Muslim ghettoisation, horrific employment rates for Muslim women, an internal debate surrounding the banning of the burka, and ongoing issues such as female genital mutilation, anti-Semitism, and homophobia within Muslim communities.

Under Mr. Khan's plans, none of these "cultures and traditions" would need to be dropped for Muslim migrants to Western countries.

According to VOA News, Mr. Khan called himself a "big fan" of Hillary Clinton, adding: "We play straight into the hands of those who seek to divide us, of extremists and terrorists around the world, when we imply that it's not possible to hold Western values dear and to be a Muslim."

Mr. Khan has been repeatedly criticised for connections with former Guantanamo Bay detainees, as well as known Muslim extremists in the United Kingdom.

His appearances have been widely covered by Britain's media, but are routinely ignored by the political establishment.  He has also pledged to ban images of women not covered up from advertisements on the London Underground (Tube).  Recently, Breitbart London revealed that Mr. Khan appointed an extremism-linked advisor to his City Hall team.

Raheem Kassam is a Shillman-Ginsburg fellow at the Middle East Forum and editor-in-chief of Breitbart London.
223  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / F-35 fuct on: September 21, 2016, 10:01:36 AM
224  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Elizabeth "Forked Tongue" Warren vs. Wells Fargo CEO on: September 20, 2016, 10:49:03 PM
225  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Prager: Thou shalt not covet on: September 20, 2016, 10:46:32 PM
226  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Case Study: Hands up , , , and down? on: September 20, 2016, 10:37:31 PM
227  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Privacy, Big Brother (State and Corporate) and the 4th & 9th Amendments on: September 20, 2016, 10:24:31 PM
I'm guessing the courts that held for the FBI said something to the effect that by going to the site the defendants entered into the jurisdiction of the court issuing the warrant.
228  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Economics, the stock market , and other investment/savings strategies on: September 20, 2016, 10:11:01 PM
Reasonably tight stops should handle that.

BTW I would submit that 7 years is quite a bit more than "short term".  What % has the move been since the bottom?  Nearly 200%?  Let's face facts:   We predicted mass inflation, doom and gloom, and crashing prices for pretty much the last seven years.  The explanation by Grannis (and Wesbury) of the implications of the increase in banking reserves has proven correct.

Please read for precision here:  What I am saying is does not contradict that we agree that there are genuine risks of genuine catastrophe.  However, which course of action would make you richer:

Staying out of the market for these seven years in the belief of your powers of prophesy or profiting for the past seven years, and taking the risk that you will have to give a chunk of it back should there be a catastrophic crash that you missed?
229  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Economics, the stock market , and other investment/savings strategies on: September 20, 2016, 09:07:55 PM
Do note gents that people who followed his advice over ours are A LOT richer for it.

230  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Money, the Fed, Banking, Monetary Policy, Dollar & other currencies, Gold/Silver on: September 20, 2016, 09:06:55 PM

Important point here-- this is why her supporters like her!!! 

Even more important point-- we should be beating her to it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

231  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Big Lie on: September 20, 2016, 08:53:01 PM
232  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Excerpt from PG Crafty's Stick Grappling DVD on: September 20, 2016, 08:51:59 PM
233  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Wesbury notes negative implications of truck sales on: September 20, 2016, 07:49:08 PM
The Glass Half Empty To view this article, Click Here
Brian S. Wesbury, Chief Economist
Robert Stein, Deputy Chief Economist
Date: 9/19/2016

We get called perma-bulls, wrongly we think, because we were late to call 2008 a Panic, and because we've pushed back against the doom and gloom of the past 7 1/2 years. Time and again over the past several years, we've argued the Plow Horse economy would continue to grow.

Remember fears about adjustable-rate mortgage re-sets, or the looming wave of foreclosures that would lead to a double-dip recession? Remember the threat of widespread defaults on municipal debt? Remember the hyperinflation that was supposed to come from Quantitative Easing? Or how about the Fiscal Cliff, Sequester, or the federal government shutdown? Or the recession we were supposed to get from higher oil prices...and then from lower oil prices? How about the recession from the looming breakup of the Euro or Grexit or Brexit?

In the end, none of these were reasons to fear a recession or to bail out of stocks.

But this doesn't mean we are "perma-bulls." It doesn't mean we will never be concerned about the prospects for recession. Sooner or later, the US will have another recession. And even though we've consistently pushed back against others' recession theories the past several years, we are always on the lookout for recession theories that make sense.

And although we don't think a recession will happen anytime soon, there are some data we're concerned about.

In the past fifty years, one of the best signals of an impending recession has been medium and heavy truck sales. Anytime that's dropped substantially – and the 31% drop since June 2015 certainly qualifies – a recession has started within two years of the peak in sales. If that holds this time around, we'd be due for a recession starting by the middle of 2017.

Given the traditional role of these vehicles to the flow of commerce around the country, a drop should never be casually dismissed. So, normally the drop since mid-2015 would give us serious concerns about the economy.

This time, however, the drop in medium and heavy truck sales has come during a time of falling oil prices and less mining activity. In addition, sales before mid-2015 may have been artificially high due to a new regulation on trucks' antilock braking systems. Some sales appear to have been accelerated to avoid the new rule, which then went into effect. There have been other regulations on emissions that affected sales as well.

Another data series we're watching closely is what we call "core" industrial production, which is industrial production excluding utilities, mining, and autos, all of which are very volatile. The core measure is down 0.9% from a year ago. Normally a decline of nearly 1% only happens in recessions or right after they end, but it also happened back in January 2014, so we think it's important to wait and see. Once again, the absorption of lower oil prices and the huge drop in drilling activity in the energy sector may be holding down production.

If truck sales and core industrial production continue to show weakness it would certainly get more of our attention. But, for now, we think the weight of the data show continued Plow Horse growth.

Job growth continues at a healthy clip. Initial unemployment claims have averaged 261,000 over the past four weeks and have been below 300,000 for 80 straight weeks. Consumer debt payments are an unusually low share of income and consumers' seriously delinquent debts are still dropping. Wages are accelerating. Home building has risen the past few years even as the homeownership rate has declined, making room for plenty of growth in the years ahead.

Meanwhile, there haven't been any huge shifts in government policy in the past two years. Yes, policy could be much better, but the pace of bad policies hasn't shifted into overdrive lately.

In other words, our forecast remains as it has been the past several years, for more Plow Horse economic growth. But you should never have any doubt that we are constantly on the lookout for something that can change our minds.
234  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Economics, the stock market , and other investment/savings strategies on: September 20, 2016, 07:39:57 PM
Maybe the banking thread  cheesy
235  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Israel's new friends on: September 20, 2016, 07:37:02 PM
How Some Muslim Nations are Forging a Real Peace with Israel
by Abigail R. Esman
Special to IPT News
September 20, 2016
236  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Penn Jillete on Trump on: September 20, 2016, 07:34:47 PM
237  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Rahami's dad dropped dime on son two years ago on: September 20, 2016, 12:31:53 PM
238  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / I need help stripping the header of a VIP's email , , , on: September 20, 2016, 11:06:06 AM
239  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Rahamis' family on: September 20, 2016, 10:16:48 AM
240  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Is there really no difference between straight and gay parenting? on: September 20, 2016, 10:09:38 AM
241  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The electoral process, vote fraud, SEIU/ACORN et al, etc. on: September 20, 2016, 10:07:57 AM
242  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / We are what we remember on: September 20, 2016, 09:41:01 AM
We Are What We Remember   Elul 17, 5776 • September 20, 2016
By Rabbi Jonathan Sacks
Print this Page   |   Read Online


One reason religion has survived in the modern world despite four centuries of secularization is that it answers the three questions every reflective human being will ask at some time in his or her life: Who am I? Why am I here? How then shall I live?
These cannot be answered by the four great institutions of the modern West: science, technology, the market economy and the liberal democratic state. Science tells us how but not why. Technology gives us power but cannot tell us how to use that power. The market
Who am I? Why am I here? How then shall I live?
gives us choices but does not tell us which choices to make. The liberal democratic state as a matter of principle holds back from endorsing any particular way of life. The result is that contemporary culture sets before us an almost infinite range of possibilities, but does not tell us who we are, why we are here, and how we should live.
Yet these are fundamental questions. Moses’ first question to G d in their first encounter at the burning bush was “Who am I?” The plain sense of the verse is that it was a rhetorical question: Who am I to undertake the extraordinary task of leading an entire people to freedom? But beneath the plain sense was a genuine question of identity. Moses had been brought up by an Egyptian princess, the daughter of Pharaoh. When he rescued Jethro’s daughters from the local Midianite shepherds, they went back and told their father, “An Egyptian man delivered us.” Moses looked and spoke like an Egyptian.
He then married Zipporah, one of Jethro’s daughters, and spent decades as a Midianite shepherd. The chronology is not entirely clear but since he was a relatively young man when he went to Midian and was eighty years old when he started leading the Israelites, he spent most of his adult life with his Midianite father-in-law, tending his sheep. So when he asked G d, “Who am I?” beneath the surface there was a real question. Am I an Egyptian, a Midianite, or a Jew?
By upbringing he was an Egyptian, by experience he was a Midianite. Yet what proved decisive was his ancestry. He was a descendant of Abraham, the child of Amram and Yocheved. When he asked G d his second question, “Who are you?” G d first told him, “I will be what I will be.” But then he gave him a second answer:
Say to the Israelites, ‘The L rd, the G d of your fathers—the G d of Abraham, the G d of Isaac and the G d of Jacob—has sent me to you.’ This is My name forever, the name you shall call Me from generation to generation.
Here too there is a double sense. On the surface G d was telling Moses what to tell the Israelites when they asked, “Who sent you to us?” But at a deeper level the Torah is telling us about the nature of identity. The answer to the question, “Who am I?” is not simply a matter of where I was born, where I spent my childhood or my adult life or of which country I am a citizen. Nor is it answered in terms of what I do for a living, or what are my interests and passions. These things are about where I am and what I am but not who I am.
G d’s answer – I am the G d of your fathers – suggests some fundamental propositions. First, identity runs through genealogy. It is a matter of who my parents were, who their parents were and so on. This is not always true. There are adopted children. There are children who make a conscious break from their parents. But for most of us, identity lies in uncovering the story of our ancestors, which, in the case of Jews, given the unparalleled dislocations of Jewish life, is almost always a tale of journeys, courage, suffering or escapes from suffering, and sheer endurance.
Second, the genealogy itself tells a story. Immediately after telling Moses to tell the people he had been sent by the G d of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, G d continued:
“Go, assemble the elders of Israel and say to them, ‘The L rd, the G d of your fathers—the G d of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob—appeared to me and said: I have watched over you and have seen what has been done to you in Egypt. And I have promised to bring you up out of your misery in Egypt into the land of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites—a land flowing with milk and honey.’
It was not simply that G d was the G d of their ancestors. He was also the G d who made certain promises: that he would bring from slavery to freedom, from exile to the Promised Land. The Israelites were part of a narrative extended over time. They were part of an unfinished story, and G d was about to write the next chapter.
What is more, when G d told Moses that he was the G d of the Israelites’ ancestors, he added, “This is My eternal name, this is how I am to be recalled [zikhri] from generation to generation.” G d was here saying that he is beyond time – “This is my eternal name” – but when it comes to human understanding, he lives within time, “from generation to generation.” The way he does this is through the handing on of memory: “This is how I am to be recalled.” Identity is not just a matter of who my parents were. It is also a matter of what they remembered and handed on to me. Personal identity is
Group identity is formed by collective memory
shaped by individual memory. Group identity is formed by collective memory. 1
All of this is by way of prelude to a remarkable law in today’s parsha. It tells us that first-fruits were to be taken to “the place G d chooses,” i.e. Jerusalem. They were to be handed to the priest, and each was to make the following declaration:
“My father was a wandering Aramean, and he went down into Egypt with a few people and lived there and became a great, powerful and populous nation. The Egyptians mistreated us and made us suffer, subjecting us to harsh labor. Then we cried out to the L rd, the G d of our ancestors, and the L rd heard our voice and saw our suffering, our harsh labor and out distress. The L rd then brought us out of Egypt with a strong hand and an outstretched arm, with great fearsomeness and with signs and wonders. He brought us to this place and gave us this land flowing with milk and honey. I am now bringing the first-fruits of the soil that you, L rd, have given me.” (Deuteronomy 26: 5-10)
We know this passage because, at least since Second Temple times it has been a central part of the Haggadah, the story we tell at the Seder table. But note that it was originally to be said on bringing firstfruits, which was not on Pesach. Usually it was done on Shavuot.
What makes this law remarkable is this: We would expect, when celebrating the soil and its produce, to speak of the G d of nature. But this text is not about nature. It is about history. It is about a distant ancestor, a “wandering Aramean.” It is the story of our ancestors. It is a narrative explaining why I am here, and why the people to whom I belong is what it is and where it is. There was nothing remotely like this in the ancient world, and there is nothing quite like it today. As Yosef Hayim Yerushalmi said in his classic book Zakhor,2 Jews were the first people to see G d in history, the first to see an overarching meaning in history, and the first to make memory a religious duty.
That is why Jewish identity has proven to be the most tenacious the world has ever known: the only identity ever sustained by a minority dispersed throughout the world for two thousand years, one that eventually led Jews back to the land and state of Israel, turning Hebrew, the language of the Bible, into a living speech again after a lapse of many centuries in which it was used only for poetry and prayer. We are what we remember, and the first-fruits declaration was a way of ensuring that Jews would never forget.
In the past few years, a spate of books has appeared in the United States asking whether the American story is still being told, still being taught to children, still framing a story that speaks to all its citizens, reminding successive generations of the battles that had to be fought for there to be a “new birth of freedom,” and the virtues needed for liberty to be sustained.3 The sense of crisis in each of these works is palpable, and though the authors come from very different positions in the political spectrum, their thesis is roughly the same: If you forget the story, you will lose your identity. There is such a thing as a
Who we are depends on what we remember
national equivalent of Alzheimer’s. Who we are depends on what we remember, and in the case of the contemporary West, a failure of collective memory poses a real and present danger to the future of liberty.
Jews have told the story of who we are for longer and more devotedly than any other people on the face of the earth. That is what makes Jewish identity so rich and resonant. In an age in which computer and smartphone memories have grown so fast, from kilobytes to megabytes to gigabytes, while human memories have become so foreshortened, there is an important Jewish message to humanity as a whole. You can’t delegate memory to machines. You have to renew it regularly and teach it to the next generation. Winston Churchill said: “The longer you can look back, the further you can see forward.” 4 Or to put it slightly differently: Those who tell the story of their past have already begun to build their children’s future.

The classic works on group memory and identity are Maurice Halbwachs, On Collective Memory, University of Chicago Press, 1992, and Jacques le Goff, History and Memory, Columbia University Press, 1992.
Yosef Hayim Yerushalmi, Zakhor: Jewish History and Jewish Memory. University of Washington Press, 1982. See also Lionel Kochan, The Jew and His History, London, Macmillan, 1977.
Among the most important of these are Charles Murray, Coming Apart, Crown, 2013; Robert Putnam, Our Kids, Simon and Shuster, 2015; Os Guinness, A Free People’s Suicide, IVP, 2012; Eric Metaxas, If You Can Keep It, Viking, 2016; and Yuval Levin, The Fractured Republic, Basic Books, 2016.
Chris Wrigley, Winston Churchill: a biographical companion, Santa Barbara, 2002, xxiv.

243  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WSJ: China's growing credit risk on: September 19, 2016, 11:26:40 PM
The WSJ catches up with my table pounding here  grin

China’s Growing Credit Risk
The bubble grows as Beijing keeps pushing growth before reform.
Sept. 19, 2016 7:30 p.m. ET

Respectable financial analysts once derided the tiny coterie of “China bears” for warning that the country could face a financial crisis. But over the last year the risk of a bad loan reckoning has become conventional wisdom. While Beijing possesses the resources to shore up the banking system, its continuing efforts to stimulate growth with more lending are complicating China’s economic and political predicament.

The latest alarm comes from the Bank for International Settlements, the clearing house of central banks in Basel. Its latest quarterly review shows that China’s credit-to-GDP gap, which measures credit growth above a country’s long-run trend, is now 30.1%. Anything above 10% is usually considered a red flag.

The idea behind the ratio is that there is no specific debt level that causes problems in all economies, but a sudden borrowing spree is a good predictor of a crisis. It suggests a mania in which loans create the illusion of high returns, which justifies more borrowing. The U.S. credit-to-GDP gap breached the 10% level in 2007 right before the housing bubble burst. As Goldman Sachs warned earlier this year, “Every major country with a rapid increase in debt has experienced either a financial crisis or a prolonged slowdown in GDP growth.”

The speed of China’s borrowing was staggering as Beijing opened the credit taps to stop the effects of the global financial crisis from reaching China. Total debt in the economy zoomed to more than 250% at the end of last year from less than 150% at the end of 2007.

This is especially worrying because the ratio continues to climb despite Beijing’s decision last year to rein in wasteful investment and undertake supply-side reforms. The government promised to stop state banks from evergreening, the practice of making new loans so troubled borrowers can repay old ones. Such zombie companies were supposed to go bankrupt. Instead China has seen few defaults.

Beijing has a good political reason for its caution. Carrying out reform promises would slow growth, and every time that happens social unrest soars. The protests this year in the town of Wukan seem to reprise the violence seen there in 2011, the last time the economy went south.

In the past few months Beijing has encouraged the three policy banks to finance new investments by state-owned enterprises. Banks have also fueled a mortgage boom that has boosted property prices. While the central bank hasn’t cut rates or reserve requirements, it has used open-market operations to give banks more liquidity.

Government statistics show that the banks’ nonperforming-loan ratio is approaching 2%, an 11-year high. But even officials acknowledge that the real number is much higher. Banking analyst Charlene Chu has predicted that it could reach 22%. That would require Beijing to recapitalize the banking system as it did in the early 2000s.

Fixing the financial system could be much messier this time, due to the advent of shadow banking. The state banks have created a complex web of “wealth management products” that attract investors with higher returns than ordinary deposits. According to Ms. Chu, WMPs grew by $1.1 trillion last year, accounting for nearly 40% of total credit growth.

These short-term liabilities fund long-term assets, a mismatch that has exacerbated crises elsewhere. And many of the buyers are other institutions, reminiscent of the U.S. mortgage-backed securities in 2008. Savers don’t understand the risks, and banks have been forced to repay their principal when the WMPs fail. A run on these investments could cause serious unrest and erode middle-class trust in the government.

Beijing faces a daunting challenge of engineering a market-driven deleveraging of an economy that has become dependent on monetary and fiscal stimulus. Managing the inevitable political fallout could be as dangerous as the economic risks.
244  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Gates on the EDC and the Donald on: September 19, 2016, 11:21:20 PM
Excellent DDF.


By Robert M. Gates
Sept. 16, 2016 6:23 p.m. ET

You wouldn’t know it from the presidential campaigns, but the first serious crisis to face our new president most likely will be international. The list of possibilities is long—longer than it was eight years ago.

Here is the world the new president will inherit at noon on January 20—a range of challenges for which neither candidate has offered new strategies or paths forward.

Every aspect of our relationship with China is becoming more challenging. In addition to Chinese cyberspying and theft of intellectual property, many American businesses in China are encountering an increasingly hostile environment. China’s nationalist determination unilaterally to assert sovereignty over disputed waters and islands in the East and South China Seas is steadily increasing the risk of military confrontation.

Most worrying, given their historic bad blood, escalation of a confrontation between China and Japan could be very dangerous. As a treaty partner of Japan, we would be obligated to help Tokyo. China intends to challenge the U.S. for regional dominance in East Asia over the long term, but the new president could quickly face a Chinese military challenge over disputed islands and freedom of navigation.

Dealing effectively with China requires a president with strategic acumen and vision, nuance, deft diplomatic and political skill, and sound instincts on when to challenge, when to stay silent and when to compromise or partner.

On this most complex challenge, neither Hillary Clinton nor Donald Trump has said or done much to give anyone confidence. All we really know is Mr. Trump’s intention to launch a trade war with a country holding over $1 trillion in U.S. debt and the largest market for many U.S. companies; and Mrs. Clinton’s opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement, which she helped to craft and the failure of which would hand China an easy political and economic win.

Then there is Vladimir Putin’s Russia, now routinely challenging the U.S. and its allies. How to count the ways. There was the armed seizure of Ukraine’s Crimea; Moscow’s military support of the separatist movement in eastern Ukraine; overt and covert intimidation of the Baltic states; the dispatch of fighter and bomber aircraft to avert the defeat of Syria’s Assad; sales of sophisticated weaponry to Iran.

There is Russia’s luring the U.S. secretary of state into believing that a cease-fire in Syria is just around the corner—if only the U.S. would do more, or less, depending on the issue; the cyberattacks on the U.S., including possible attempts to influence the U.S. presidential election; and covert efforts to aggravate division and weakness with the European Union and inside European countries. And there is the dangerously close buzzing of U.S. Navy ships in the Baltic Sea and close encounters with U.S. military aircraft in international airspace.

The only thing longer than the list of hostile Russian actions abroad is the list of repressive actions inside Russia to stifle dissent and strengthen Mr. Putin’s security services-run state. Mr. Putin will continue to behave aggressively until confronted and stopped.

No one in the West wants a return to the Cold War, so the challenge is to confront and stop Mr. Putin’s aggressions while pursuing cooperation on international challenges that can only be addressed successfully if Russia is at the table—from terrorism to climate change, from the Syrian conflict to nuclear nonproliferation and arms control. Again, neither Mrs. Clinton nor Mr. Trump has expressed any views on how they would deal with Mr. Putin (although Mr. Trump’s expressions of admiration for the man and his authoritarian regime are naive and irresponsible).

North Korea and Iran are sworn enemies of the U.S. North Korean potentate Kim Jong Un is building more nuclear weapons for his arsenal even as he develops ballistic missiles that now, or very soon, can reach all of our allies (and U.S. military forces) in Asia. During the first term of the next president these missiles will be able to reach the U.S. mainland.

On his good days, Kim Jong Un appears to outsiders as a cartoonish megalomaniac; on his bad days, he seems to yearn for a Gotterdammerung finale in which a perishing North Korea takes a lot of Asians and Americans with it. Or is he simply continuing to pursue a strategy designed to preserve his rule and North Korea’s independence through nuclear blackmail? The new U.S. president could face an early North Korean provocation against the South, the Japanese or us, and for sure will be confronted by a long-term strategic nuclear threat to our allies and to America.

Regarding Iran, whatever value Mr. Obama’s nuclear agreement has brought, the deal has led to no decrease in Iran’s aggressive meddling in the Middle East nor any lessening of its hostility to the U.S. Iranian naval challenges to U.S. warship operations in the Persian Gulf have nearly doubled over the last year. Iran will do all it can to embarrass the U.S.—such as allowing Russian planes to use Iranian airfields to attack the Syrian opposition and testing ballistic missiles—even as it strives to eject us from the entire region. Our new president had best be prepared for an early test of U.S. resolve in the Persian Gulf and Iran’s continuing regional subversion.

While Mrs. Clinton gave a speech on Iran over a year ago, she has since offered no inkling of her views and has said little about North Korea. Mr. Trump has said nary a word on the challenge posed by either country.

Both candidates have spelled out how they would deal with ISIS, and terrorism more broadly, but their approach in essence sounds like what President Obama is doing now—with more ideological fervor and some additional starch. Neither has addressed what the broader U.S. strategy should be toward a Middle East in flames, from Syria to Iraq to Libya, and where Gulf Arab states worry about their own stability amid growing doubts they can rely on the U.S.; both Egypt and Turkey are ruled by increasingly authoritarian strongmen; and an Israeli-Palestinian conflict further from resolution than ever.

Mr. Trump has suggested we should walk away from the region and hope for the best. This is a dangerous approach oblivious to the reality that what happens in the Middle East doesn’t stay in the Middle East. Mrs. Clinton has ruled out putting U.S. ground troops in Iraq and Syria “ever again.” That is a politically driven categorical declaration of a sort no president (or candidate) should make, and it raises the question whether she would pull out the 5,000 U.S. troops now in Iraq. She has expressed no new ideas to deal with the boiling caldron that is today’s Middle East.

Each of these challenges may require the use of the American military, the most powerful the world has ever seen. The president commands some two million men and women in uniform, and every previous president would attest that the decision to put those lives at risk is the weightiest burden of office. Yet neither candidate has seriously addressed how he or she thinks about the military, the use of military force, the criteria they would apply before sending that force into battle, or broader questions of peace and war. Based on what each candidate has said and done, who can we trust with the lives of young Americans in uniform?

Both candidates have a credibility problem in foreign affairs. Mrs. Clinton was the senior-most advocate for using the U.S. military to bring ill-fated regime change in Libya and, further, failed to anticipate the chaos that would follow—the same failure she and other Democrats hung around the neck of the Bush 43 administration in post-Saddam Iraq. She was for trade agreements before she turned against them in this election campaign, just as she voted for the Iraq war in 2003 and then, several years later—in her first campaign for president—opposed the troop surge there. She has much-discussed credibility issues apart from national security, but these also influence foreign perceptions of reliability and trust.

When it comes to credibility problems, though, Donald Trump is in a league of his own. He has expressed support for building a wall between the U.S. and Mexico; for torturing suspected terrorists and killing their families; for Mr. Putin’s dictatorial leadership and for Saddam Hussein’s nonexistent successes against terrorism. He also has said he is for using defense spending by NATO allies as the litmus test on whether the U.S. will keep its treaty commitments to them; for withdrawing U.S. troops from Europe, South Korea and Japan and for the latter two developing nuclear weapons—a highly destabilizing prospect.

Mr. Trump has been cavalier about the use of nuclear weapons. He has a record of insults to servicemen, their families and the military, which he called a “disaster.” He has declared our senior military leaders “reduced to rubble” and “embarrassing our country” and has suggested that, if elected, he will purge them—an unprecedented and unconscionable threat. As of late, he appears to be rethinking some of these positions but he has yet to learn that when a president shoots off his mouth, there are no do-overs.

Mr. Trump is also willfully ignorant about the rest of the world, about our military and its capabilities, and about government itself. He disdains expertise and experience while touting his own—such as his claim that he knows more about ISIS than America’s generals. He has no clue about the difference between negotiating a business deal and negotiating with sovereign nations.

All of the presidents I served were strong personalities with strongly held views about the world. But each surrounded himself with independent-minded, knowledgeable and experienced advisers who would tell the president what he needed to hear, not what he wanted to hear. Sometimes presidents would take their advice, sometimes not. But they always listened.

The world we confront is too perilous and too complex to have as president a man who believes he, and he alone, has all the answers and has no need to listen to anyone. In domestic affairs, there are many checks on what a president can do; in national security there are few constraints. A thin-skinned, temperamental, shoot-from-the-hip and lip, uninformed commander-in-chief is too great a risk for America.

I understand the broad anger and frustration against political leaders in both parties. I have written about my disgust as secretary of defense as I watched politicians repeatedly place re-election above the nation’s best interests. Polls make clear that most Americans are dissatisfied with the two major party candidates for president. But as I used to say in the Pentagon, we are where we are—not where we might wish to be. We have to make a decision. Perhaps the debates, if the candidates focus on substance rather than personal attacks, will clarify the choice.

Mrs. Clinton has time before the election to address forthrightly her trustworthiness, to reassure people about her judgment, to demonstrate her willingness to stake out one or more positions on national security at odds with her party’s conventional wisdom, and to speak beyond generalities about how she would deal with China, Russia, North Korea, Iran, the Middle East—and international trade. Whether and how she addresses these issues will, I believe, affect how many people vote—including me.

At least on national security, I believe Mr. Trump is beyond repair. He is stubbornly uninformed about the world and how to lead our country and government, and temperamentally unsuited to lead our men and women in uniform. He is unqualified and unfit to be commander-in-chief.

Mr. Gates served eight presidents over 50 years, most recently as secretary of defense under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama.
245  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WSJ: This lesson has been taught to Freddie Mac before on: September 19, 2016, 11:16:18 PM
Freddie Mac Starts Pilot Program With Looser Standards
Changes designed to boost mortgage originations among first-time buyers, applicants with low-to-moderate incomes
By AnnaMaria Andriotis
Sept. 19, 2016 5:12 p.m. ET

Mortgage-finance giant Freddie Mac and two nonbank lenders are loosening income and documentation requirements for mortgage applicants in a new pilot program.

The changes announced Monday are designed to help boost mortgage originations among first-time buyers, applicants with low-to-moderate incomes and those who live in underserved areas.

The moves come nearly a decade after the start of the mortgage meltdown, as many consumers remain shut out of the housing market largely because they can’t meet the underwriting criteria that most lenders require. Under the Freddie program, applicants will be able use the income of people who will live with them but aren’t going to be on the mortgage to qualify.

In addition, income from second jobs that borrowers have held for a relatively short period will be factored in. The pilot also doesn’t require bank statements that would show a paper trail of how some borrowers save for their down payments.

Many of the pilot’s features are similar to what Fannie Mae currently allows on some mortgages it purchases but are new for Freddie Mac, which is among the largest purchasers of mortgages in the country. Freddie Mac says it purchases one in every four mortgages originated by lenders in the U.S.

The changes, which went into effect on Monday, will apply to people who sign up for a mortgage with Las Vegas-based Alterra Home Loans or Tustin, Calif.,-based New American Funding. The companies’ specialties include lending to low-income and Hispanic borrowers. The lenders will sell the mortgages they originate to Freddie Mac.

The partnership has been in the works since late last year and will be in effect for at least 12 months. Freddie Mac will determine whether to expand it beyond pilot phase if performance meets expectations. It declined to discuss any numbers it has as goals for loan volume or the delinquency level it would like to stay below.

The pilot isn’t lowering down payment or credit score requirements. Rather it is loosening income criteria, including for applicants who have two jobs. Until now, Freddie Mac has required that borrowers who show their income from a second job when applying for a mortgage demonstrate that they have held that job for at least 24 months, a period that in the pilot is reduced to 12 months. Separately, self-employed borrowers will have more options to prove their business exists to the lenders.

In addition, borrowers who will be living with family or other individuals for at least 12 months after they purchase the home will be able to use those non-borrowers’ income to get approved for the mortgage. The income will be factored in to help improve the borrowers’ debt to income ratio, a key figure that compares borrowers’ monthly debt obligations to their gross monthly income.

Paperwork requirements will also loosen up for some borrowers who don’t have bank statements to show how they have saved for their down payment.

Write to AnnaMaria Andriotis at
246  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2016 Presidential on: September 19, 2016, 04:17:01 PM
This is excellent work DDF.  Please post in on the SEIU/Electoral fraud thread as well as here.
247  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Zombie Bridgegate on: September 19, 2016, 04:14:51 PM
248  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of the left on: September 19, 2016, 01:58:35 PM
Tiny nitpick: If I am not mistaken, he is of Pakistani descent, not Arab.
249  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Whoops! Citizenship granted to 858 pending deportation on: September 19, 2016, 01:55:50 PM
U.S. government “mistakenly” granted citizenship to at least 858 immigrants, many from countries of concern to national security
September 19, 2016 11:40 am By Robert Spencer Leave a Comment

“Mistakenly awarding citizenship to someone ordered deported can have serious consequences because U.S. citizens can typically apply for and receive security clearances or take security-sensitive jobs.”
What could possibly go wrong, you racist, bigoted Islamophobe?

In any case, this shows the quality of the Obama “vetting” process.

“More than 800 immigrants mistakenly granted citizenship,” Associated Press, September 19, 2016:
WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. government has mistakenly granted citizenship to at least 858 immigrants from countries of concern to national security or with high rates of immigration fraud who had pending deportation orders, according to an internal Homeland Security audit released Monday.

The Homeland Security Department’s inspector general found that the immigrants used different names or birthdates to apply for citizenship with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and such discrepancies weren’t caught because their fingerprints were missing from government databases.

DHS said in an emailed statement that an initial review of these cases suggest that some of the individuals may have ultimately qualified for citizenship, and that the lack of digital fingerprint records does not necessarily mean they committed fraud.

The report does not identify any of the immigrants by name, but Inspector General John Roth’s auditors said they were all from “special interest countries” — those that present a national security concern for the United States — or neighboring countries with high rates of immigration fraud. The report did not identify those countries.

DHS said the findings reflect what has long been a problem for immigration officials — old paper-based records containing fingerprint information that can’t be searched electronically. DHS says immigration officials are in the process of uploading these files and that officials will review “every file” identified as a case of possible fraud.

Roth’s report said fingerprints are missing from federal databases for as many as 315,000 immigrants with final deportation orders or who are fugitive criminals. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has not reviewed about 148,000 of those immigrants’ files to add fingerprints to the digital record.

The gap was created because older, paper records were never added to fingerprint databases created by both the now-defunct Immigration and Naturalization Service and the FBI in the 1990s. ICE, the DHS agency responsible for finding and deporting immigrants living in the country illegally, didn’t consistently add digital fingerprint records of immigrants whom agents encountered until 2010.

The government has known about the information gap and its impact on naturalization decisions since at least 2008 when a Customs and Border Protection official identified 206 immigrants who used a different name or other biographical information to gain citizenship or other immigration benefits, though few cases have been investigated.

Roth’s report said federal prosecutors have accepted two criminal cases that led to the immigrants being stripped of their citizenship. But prosecutors declined another 26 cases. ICE is investigating 32 other cases after closing 90 investigations.

ICE officials told auditors that the agency hadn’t pursued many of these cases in the past because federal prosecutors “generally did not accept immigration benefits fraud cases.” ICE said the Justice Department has now agreed to focus on cases involving people who have acquired security clearances, jobs of public trust or other security credentials.

Mistakenly awarding citizenship to someone ordered deported can have serious consequences because U.S. citizens can typically apply for and receive security clearances or take security-sensitive jobs….
250  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Humor on: September 19, 2016, 01:49:25 PM
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